Music of 2008

Music of 2008
Now that it’s only four months too late, I’ve finally finished my “Year 2008” mix project.

Before that, though, I wanted to share some of where I came from and do some year-end lists. Don’t worry — I actually compiled these lists way back in December before I was swayed by all of the other Year End hype.

Albums

  1. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
  2. Sébastien Tellier – Sexuality
  3. Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak
  4. Santogold – Santogold
  5. Lykke Li – Youth Novels
  6. Hot Chip – Made in the Dark
  7. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
  8. Portishead – Third

Songs

  1. Cut Copy – “Hearts On Fire”
  2. Little Boots – “Stuck On Repeat”
  3. Estelle – “American Boy”
  4. Hot Chip – “Ready For The Floor”
  5. Crystal Castles – “Courtship Dating”
  6. Annie – “I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me”
  7. Ladyhawke – “Paris Is Burning”
  8. Lykke Li – “Breaking It Up”
  9. MGMT – “Kids”
  10. The Ting Tings – “Great DJ”

DJs/Remixers

  1. Fake Blood
  2. Fred Falke
  3. LA Riots

Others

  • Best Live Act: Cut Copy
  • Best New Artist: Ladyhawke
  • Most Disappointing Album: Girl Talk – Feed the Animals
  • Best Reunion: My Bloody Valentine

Who Shot JR’s “Year 2008 Mix”

00:00 – Dallas Theme Song
00:09 – MGMT – Kids (Soulwax remix)
03:04 – Kid Cudi – Day N Nite (Crookers remix)
04:18 – Wiley – Wearing My Rolex (club mix)
05:45 – Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor (Hot Chip V.I.P. remix)
09:45 – Little Boots – Stuck On Repeat (Fake Blood remix)
14:15 – Cansei De Ser Sexy – Move (Stockholm Syndrome club mix)
17:48 – Cut Copy – Hearts On Fire (Calvin Harris remix)
19:43 – Britney spears – Womanizer (Benny Benassi remix)
22:08 – Crystal Castles – Crimewave (LA Riots remix)
23:37 – Estelle – American Boy (Soul Seekerz club mix)
25:50 – Rihanna – Disturbia
27:09 – Eric Prydz – Pjanoo (Fred Falke remix)
28:27 – The Kills – Cheap and Cheerful (Fake Blood remix)
29:56 – Cut Copy – Lights and Music
32:44 – Katy Perry – Hot N Cold (Jason Nevins extended mix)
35:17 – Kanye West – Homecoming (DiscoTech remix)
37:02 – Kanye West – Heartless (DJ Kue Klub mix)
39:17 – Hot Chip – Ready for the Floor (LA Riots vs. Villains remix)
41:54 – Hercules and Love Affair – Blind (Frankie Knuckles remix)
44:06 – Ladyhawke – Paris Is Burning (Cut Copy remix)
46:38 – The Ting Tings – Great DJ (7th Heaven remix)
49:08 – Treasure Fingers – Cross the Dancefloor
50:55 – Moby – Disco Lies (Spencer & Hill remix)
53:23 – Madonna – 4 Minutes (DJ Barletta remix)
54:26 – Annie – Two of Hearts (Skatebård remix)
55:58 – Presets – Talk Like That (Dave Spoon’s Televized mix)
58:12 – MGMT – Electric Feel (Dskotek remix)
60:13 – Tiga – Mind Dimension (Kid Legit remix)
61:44 – Empire of the Sun – Walking on a Dream (Treasure Fingers remix)
63:59 – Kylie Minogue – The One (Freemasons vocal club mix)
67:15 – The Whitest Boy Alive – Golden Cage (Fred Falke remix)
70:49 – PNAU – Embrace (Fred Falke & Miami Horror remix)
73:36 – Santogold – Shove It (Boy 8-Bit remix)
75:15 – Little Boots – Stuck On Repeat
77:19 – Cut Copy – Hearts On Fire (Knightlife Nam mix)
77:41 – Adam Freeland vs. Daft Punk – Aer OBAMA

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If you download my mix, please leave me a comment with your thoughts. It encourages me to do more mixes, tells me that people actually listen to them, gives me ideas for new mixes, etc.

Gay Pride 2006

Yikes, a bit behind am I? So Seattle Gay Pride was something like five months ago (almost half a year!) and I am just now getting around to posting my “Gay Pride 2006” mix.

Compared to Music Make You Lose Control and Destroy Rock (And Roll), this mix is tremendously better. I have a few theories on why it’s better: First, pretty much every one of these songs are club/dance mixes — they are designed (good intros/outros) for DJs and mixing; second, I am getting better at this — I know when to start mixing songs together, what types of songs go good together, etc.

As for the songs, when I first envisioned a gay-themed mix I had planned to do songs with gay themes (lots of stuff from Le Tigre and Scissor Sisters). Then I realized that finding all the songs and putting them together was going to take a while… and that a gay mix could be done at any time and wasn’t necessarily “2006” or “Pride” oriented.

So I decided that it might be more fun to make a mix of all of my favorite songs that I had heard at Neighbours over the last year. In the end that idea worked and I think this mix turned out to be a lot of fun.

I started the mix with Basement Jaxx’s remix of Missy Elliott’s “4 My People.” This song was a perfect opener for two reasons: First, the title “4 My People” sorta signaled that this was a gay mix for my “gay” people or whatever. Second, Elliott’s …So Addictive album (where “4 My People” appears) is a totally gay album (themes of clubs, drugs, sex, etc.) and “4 My People” is Elliott’s most club-friendly song. A great way to kick things off.

Kelly Osbourne’s “One Word” was one of the first songs I remember really starting to love at Neighbours. Being rather unfamiliar with pop music at the time, I had to try to hear some of the lyrics (“it’s not the way that I want it/it’s just the way that I need it”) and text message them to myself so that I could search for the song and download it. I’m not sure that I’ve actually heard Dannii Minogue’s “Perfection” at Neighbours despite the fact that it’d be a perfect pick. The song samples “Turn the Beat Around” and is so high-energy.

My favorite moment of the mix is around the 22:00 mark when toward the end of Gabriel & Dresden’s remix of “The Wings” (theme song to Brokeback Mountain) Madonna’s “Hung Up” starts to creep in. The two songs have this similar “reverso beat thing” (I don’t have a more technical term) that matches up perfectly. In addition to the musical synergy of the two songs, I firmly believe that “Hung Up” and Brokeback Mountain were the two biggest gay events of the year, so placing them side-by-side/ontop of each other just seemed perfect.

Speaking of perfect, “Since U Been Gone” is a perfect example of how Neighbours has influenced my taste in music. When Kelly Clarkson was touring sometime last year, I walked by The Paramount and saw her tour bus. I was one the phone with my friend at the time and made some comment like, “Ugh, Kelly Clarkson. I hate her.” My friend responded something like, “Well you sure seemed to love her song at the club the other night.” And sure enough, he was right. I love “SUBG” and it’s inclusion on this mix was an absolute must. For some of the songs, I opted for edited/shorter remixes or did a lot of overlapping. For “SUBG,” though, I really needed to get the whole song in there so I went with the full-length version of Jason Nevins’ perfect (and in my opinion, his best work ever) remix.

It’s funny, I think, that of all the artists on this mix, only Dannii Minogue appears twice. As I mentioned before, “Perfection” wasn’t even a song that I heard at the club, but I loved it so much I couldn’t do the mix without it. Not the case with “Put the Needle On It.” I always loved it when this song came up. My favorite part is the voiceover going, “Dirty hands do demand” or whatever. Originally I planned to use Tiga‘s remix, but in the end the Jason Nevins mix just worked better. I kind of regret putting two Nevins mixes back-to-back, but what can ‘ya do?

My friend Troy would kill me if I didn’t credit him with turning me on to the Gabriel & Dresden remix of “Don’t Leave Home” by Dido. So there: Everyone: Give Troy credit for this. The funny thing about this song is that finding a “good” MP3 of it took quite a while. Most of the mixes you find on the p2p networks come from various compilations (such as Bloom) and aren’t the “pure”/”official” version that I wanted. (Since I don’t have vinyl, getting the official “Sand In My Shoes” / “Don’t Leave Home” single wasn’t feasible.) I immediately fell in love with the song, especially the part that comes in toward the end of the song (or around 45:22 in the mix) where the song takes a break of sorts and goes all electro/robot/whatever.

The same Troy who loves “Don’t Leave Home” hate’s “Cha Cha Heels.” That’s sort of why I put the songs next to each other — I thought it was funny. This song really has no substance or anything likable, but it’s fun when it comes on at the club and some people (such as me) pretend that they know how to cha-cha.

If “The Wings”/”Hung Up” don’t make this the perfect gay mix, then “Don’t Cha” better be what it takes. With the exception of “Hung Up,” I don’t think I’ve seen any song make the gay boys at the club more excited than this song (or maybe this is me projecting since this song makes me so excited?). There is something about being at a gay club and the lyrics, “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me” that is just too great. It’s a pretty common gay fantasy to seduce and get with the hot straight guy, and in a gay context this song seems to be the anthem for getting with the straight guy who has a girlfriend. Due to this song’s perfect thematic role in the mix and the fact it’s great to dance to, I had to use Ralphi’s full-length 12″ vox (i.e., vocal) mix.

“The Sound of San Francisco” was another one of the first songs I really loved to hear at the club. The fact it sampled/covered “San Francisco” by the Mamas and the Papas made it all the better, and turned me on to the idea of finding other techno songs that did the same thing. In the end, “The Sound of San Francisco” was the best (though the Global Deejay’s “Flashdance” is great, too).

I always thought that the Global Deejays songs used the same beats that Benny Benassi did, so that’s why I put his remix of Goldfrapp’s “Ooh La La” after “The Sound of San Francisco.” I admit, the transition here is a little sloppy, but I think the fact that both songs have that heavy beat/organ sounding thing helps hide a bit of the slop. Funny story about this song: The remix that the DJ at Neighbours usually played was Peter Rauhofer (a pretty big “gay DJ”). His mix was sort of dark, however, and didn’t climax very well. Although my friend Troy and I frequently requested “Ooh La La” (being as how we were Goldfrapp fans), we were always disappointed with the results. Finally we took things into our own hands and I specifically requested the Benny Benassi remix (I had downloaded all the songs from and eventually purchased the purchased the “Ooh La La” club promo CD single) and it helped us finally realize the awesomeness of “Ooh La La” in a club setting.

Toward the end of this mix, I admit, I got a little sloppy. I wanted to include “Inspiration” and “The World Is Mine” because I remembered them from the club and they were good, danceable songs. I wish I would’ve included Scissor Sisters’ “Filthy/Gorgeous” earlier in the mix and done a better job incorporating it, because this is easily my favorite Scissor Sisters’ song. At least it closes the mix?

So in the end, how many of these songs did they play at Neighbours during Pride weekend? Well, I went out Saturday night and I definitely remember “The Wings” (which surprised the hell out of me), “Don’t Leave Home,” and “Ooh La La.” Others may have been (and probably were) played earlier or at other times.

00:00 — “4 My People” (Basement Jaxx remix) by Missy Elliott
02:56 — “One Word” (Chris Cox remix) by Kelly Osbourne
08:55 — “Perfection” (Dancing DJs remix) by Dannii Minogue
14:00 — “The Wings” (Gabriel & Dresden’s Organized Nature remix) by Gustavo Santaolalla
20:24 — “Hung Up” (SDP extended vocal mix) by Madonna
26:39 — “Since U Been Gone” (Jason Nevins club mix) by Kelly Clarkson
32:49 — “Put the Needle On It” (Nevins Club Creation) y Dannii Minogue
39:13 — “Don’t Leave Home” (Gabriel & Dresden remix) by Dido
48:11 — “Cha Cha Heels” (Ralphi Rosario radio edit) by Rosabel
51:02 — “Don’t Cha” (Ralphi’s Hot Freak 12″ vox remix) by the Pussycat Dolls
59:37 — “The Sound of San Francisco” (progressive extended mix) by the Global Deejays
64:30 — “Ooh La La” (Benny Benassi extended remix) by Goldfrapp
70:44 — “Inspiration” (radio edit) by Ian Van Dahl
73:25 — “The World is Mine” by David Guetta
75:54 — “Filthy/Gorgeous” by Scissor Sisters

[save]  Download “Gay Pride 2006” (very low-quality)

Music Make You Lose Control

The idea that started this mix is basically the reason I started playing around with mixes in the first place. When I got Missy Elliott’s The Cookbook last year, I knew that I recognized the “music makes you lose control” phrase from somewhere else. It wasn’t until I became obsessed with remixes and, in particular, the work of Jacques Lu Cont/Thin White Duke that I remembered where I had heard it before: Jacques Lu Cont’s first foray into electronic music, his group The Les Rythmes Digitales and their song “Music Makes You Lose Control.”

Then while trying to find every Jacques Lu Cont/Thin White Duke remix I could, I came across his amazing remix of that very Missy Elliott song, “Lose Control,” as well as the Faint’s “The Conductor” from their Danse Macabre Remixes remix album.

Throughout all of those mixes I was mesmerized by the repetition of the word “control.” I imagined how cool it would be to mix all the songs together and really emphasize the similarities despite the fact that they were totally different songs.

In fact, my first attempt at making a mix started off with these same three songs, but I scrapped that idea since I didn’t feel I had the skills I wanted and did the Destroy Rock (And Roll) mix instead.

After that mix and playing around with mixing for a while, I figured it was time to revisit my original idea. To make things a bit more exciting I decided that I was going to try to take elements from surrounding sounds and place them in different songs. This would create somewhat of a weave idea. What I mean is, you have songs A, B, and C. You sample something from song B and include that element in songs A and C. For the Music Make You Lose Control mix I started with the phrase “music makes you lose control.” I got an isolated sample of the words from the original version of Missy Elliott’s “Lose Control.”

It turns out that finding isolated things from other songs wouldn’t be as easy, so I scrapped that idea (though I intend to experiment with it more in later mixes) and just reused that phrase “music makes you lose control” throughout the entirety of the song. I realize, now, that it gets tired after a while… so consider it something of an formal practice of something or a very obvious attempt at trying out a new (to me) technique.

Once I had the first three songs put together, I wanted to somehow maintain the idea of music losing control. This doesn’t seem to be the case for “Fearless” as much, but I really liked the Richard X remix and compared to the original, this one has far more beeps and blips, so I tossed it in.

With the Vitalic remix of “Technologic,” the music really does lose control. I consider this song to be a meltdown of sorts, especially when the somewhat industrial sounding noises start creeping into the end of “Fearless.” Back when I was playing around with the idea of weaving sounds, I had those strange noises break into “Fearless” much earlier. It’s great zip zapping sound, and I definitely want to reuse it again somewhere.

The idea of everything falling apart continued into the nosiest Madonna remix I’ve ever heard: the Green Velvet mix of “Sorry.” Like the Destroy Rock (And Roll) mix, I felt compelled to include Madonna. I especially liked the idea that such a pristine poppy song such as “Sorry” could sound so different and alien.

The height of things falling apart, however, is when Dimitri Tikovoi’s remix of Goldfrapp’s “Twist” cuts into the tail end of “Sorry.” If “Technologic” and “Sorry” introduced strange distortion noises, the crunching almost-organic stuff in “Twist” takes things to a new level. I contemplated using another Jacques Lu Cont remix (the “Conversion Pervsion” remix), but figured that might be overkill. Plus, as I said before, the mix I used is delightfully bizarre.

Also, I must note, I think the transition between “Sorry” and “Twist” is probably the best in the mix. I love how the sounds from “Twist” create something of a symbiotic invasion at the end of “Sorry” and how you really cannot tell that they are leading into a new song. The transition makes me think of Tetsuo from Akira morphing with that energy at the end of the movie. Initially, I didn’t like the Dimitri Tikovoi remix of “Twist” since it took so long to get into the singing, but by layering it with “Sorry” you don’t even notice.

So at this point I guess I figured, Well, music has lost control and now things are sounding like we’re on another planet… (and a scary one, at that). I could’ve kept going darker and stranger, but instead I decided that when music breaks down it turns into happier dancier music. Hence, the Dahlbäck & Dahlbäck remix of The Knife’s “Pass This On.” Those familiar with Destroy Rock (And Roll) may remember that The Knife’s “Silent Shout” was the height of darkness in that mix. To change things up a bit, I decided to show the lighter side of The Knife for Music Make You Lose Control.

Following up “Pass This On” was the most difficult part of this mix. For some reason, the beats at the end are extremely difficult to align with anything else. I remember being stumped here for quite some time. Then I heard the Armand Van Helden song “Sugar” somewhere and it got stuck in my end. Inevitably, it ended up in this mix, and although the transition isn’t great by any means, it’s better than anything else I tried. There isn’t much to say about the song itself other than the fact I like it, it’s catchy, and somewhat cheesy. Like I said, when music lost control it sorta spun off into a cheesy dance house world.

Perhaps, though, the height of turning into pop music would be to include something by Britney Spears… and oh, look at what I did! I included the totally awesome Felix Da Housecat remix of “Toxic.” I came across this remix back when I was really into Felix Da Housecat remixes (his best ever: “Playgirl” by Ladytron) and have wanted to share it with the world ever since. The song clocks in at 143 beats-per-minute, which makes it one of the faster songs I’ve included in a mix (most hover in the 125-135 range).

Following Britney’s act is a less-pop, but more-cool song by LCD Soundsystem: the Tiga remix of “Tribulations.” This transition works pretty well, and I love how for about a minute into “Tribulations” we still hear the Britster crooning “Toxic.” But why did I include this song? Good question. To be perfectly honest, “Tribulations” and “After Dark” by Le Tigre (and “Sugar” as well) weren’t included for any thematic reason. I liked the songs and thought they fit somewhat well into the mix.

The closing song, however, I had planned from the beginning. For those who don’t know, “Out of Control” by the Chemical Brothers is probably my all-time favorite song. Vocals are done by Bernard Sumner from New Order and Bobby Gilespie from Primal Scream contributes, as well, making the song a powerhouse of goodness, as far as I’m concerned. The lyrics of the song also allude back to the original idea for this mix: control.

So there it is: the second mix. Ultimtely, I feel that this mix isn’t as good as Destroy Rock (And Roll). I had too many thematic ideas for the first part (“control” and that breakdown of music thing) and after that everything just went sort of crazy. I should have tried to do a mix focusing on one of the ideas at a time or do a totally eclectic mix. Also, I feel that this one lacks the “shine factor” that I felt for the first mix. These songs feel too gritty or something (despite having songs like “Sugar” and “Toxic” and even “Tribulations” and “After Dark”). I feel that this mix has a more pastel or muted-color palette, which I don’t like as much.

A final thing worth noting: I’ve decided to take a “DJ name:” Who Shot JR? I think this is a great idea since my initials are J.R. and I love Dallas so much. I may have to add a “DJ” before it, but for now I just want to be Who Shot JR?

So what’s next? I’m already 80% finished with the Gay Pride 2006 remix (and yes, I realize that Seattle Pride was last weekend (I actually thought that it was in July until a week before it happened). So far I’m really excited about the mix. It’s totally cheesy but everything transitions nicely and you feel like you are in a gay club (which is the intention). The playlist includes my favorite songs from Neighbours from the past year or so.

00:00 — “Music Makes Your Lose Control” by Les Rythmes Digitales
02:32 — “Lose Control” (Jacques Lu Cont remix) by Missy Elliott
09:06 — “The Conductor” (Thin White Duke remix) by The Faint
16:08 — “Fearless” (Richard X remix) by The Bravery
21:49 — “Technologic” (Vitalic remix) by Daft Punk
26:46 — “Sorry” (Green Velvet remix) by Madonna
30:52 — “Twist” (Dimitri Tikovoi remix) by Goldfrapp
36:30 — “Pass This On” (Dahlbäck & Dahlbäck remix) by the Knife
40:56 — “Sugar” (original club mix) by Armand Van Helden
47:43 — “Toxic” (Felix da Housecat’s club mix) by Britney Spears
53:30 — “Tribulations” (Tiga’s Out of the Trance Closet mix) by LCD Soundsystem
59:46 — “After Dark” (Morel’s Pink Noise vocal mix) by Le Tigre
65:18 — “Out of Control” by the Chemical Brothers

[save]  Download “Music Make You Lose Control” (very low-quality)

If you want a CD version of the mix, let me know and I might go ahead and send you one. I will be designing a CD cover and everything (and will update this post once that has happened).

Destroy Rock (And Roll)

I’ve completed my first “DJ mix” project: “Destroy Rock (And Roll).” I’ve had the idea of doing a project like this for quite a few months now, but never had the software or confidence or whatever to finish it. So for about a month I’ve been playing around with MixMeister (thanks to Johan at Pop is Now King) and finally came up with something I like.

The mix starts with Mylo’s “Destroy Rock & Roll,” which I think is appropriate since it’s like me destroying my rock and roll past (like back when I wanted to be a bass player) and moving on to electronic music. The “VH1”/“In My Arms”/“Ready 2 Wear” segment goes together since “In My Arms” uses the same sample that “VH1” does and I’ve always thought the heavier beats in the Linus Loves remix of “In My Arms” were similar to those in Benny Benassi’s remix of “Ready 2 Wear.”

I just had to include “Hung Up” in the mix, though it took me a while to decide on which remix fit best. Then it was a matter of finding a song that you would never expect to find alongside Madonna, so “Destroy Everything You Touch” felt perfect… but that turned the whole project a little darker, so I followed it with “Silent Shout” (a rather creepy song, I think) and continued the “weird” theme with Bjork’s “Who Is It,” albeit a fast and heavy remix.

I knew I wanted to include Royksopp, but it was difficult finding a good song — especially one that would flow with the very heavy ending to “Who Is It.” In the end, the Headman remix of “Only This Moment” worked best, and provided a nice segue into “Electrobix.” Again, I had a tough time finding a good Scissor Sisters song to include. I know I wanted to put them in, but none of the songs were working out. Once I figured out that I could crop out the annoying intro/outro for “Electrobix,” it fit the mix pretty well.

“DARE” was another song I felt needed to be in the mix, but was a total pain in the ass to fit in. I would’ve preferred a more interesting remix than this Soulwax one, but it worked, so oh well. I love how at the end of it the pace really picks up as it matches the beats in “Monster Hospital.” I originally had a much faster song following “DARE” which made the ending go too fast, but I loved the idea, nonetheless, and it worked for “Monster Hospital” too since the Soulwax remix of “DARE” is fairly slow.

I’m not sure whether “Avalon” is a good fit for the mix, but I love the song and wanted to toss in a Jacques lu Cont/Thin White Duke remix (in addition to his SDP aliased remix of “Hung Up”). Then for the closing, like a good bookend, I used a remix of the song that started it all and inspired the mix: “Destroy Rock & Roll.”

Obviously, the mix isn’t perfect. The second time I listened to it I noticed a bunch of “flaws” that I didn’t hear the first time (imperfect beat matching, weird sound levels during transitions, etc.). I was going to go back and tweak it, but then I figured that this was my first stab at making a mix and I’d have plenty of chances to improve, so I left the flaws intact. They are a good way to track my progress.

What comes after this? Two things: First, another remix — probably more of a downtempo one. This one is pretty upbeat and more club-like, and I’d like to do something that incorporates slower music I like. Second, a real remix remix. That is, taking a song I love, and taking it apart, changing it around, and reassembling it. This is probably more like item 50, since I’m going to need to learn a lot, but it’s fun, so what the heck.

For those who want to follow along, here is the track list broken into times:

00:00 — “Destroy Rock & Roll” (radio edit) by Mylo
02:29 — “VH1” (radio edit) by Linus Loves
06:43 — “In My Arms” (Linus Loves remix) by Mylo
09:04 — “Ready 2 Wear” (Benny Benassi remix) by Felix da Housecat
13:50 — “Hung Up” (SDP extended vocal mix) by Madonna
21:21 — “Destroy Everything You Touch” by Ladytron
25:30 — “Silent Shout” by the Knife
29:34 — “Who Is It” (Vitalic remix) by Bjork
33:02 — “Only This Moment” (Headman remix) by Royksopp
39:20 — “Electrobix” (12″ mix) by Scissor Sisters
43:20 — “DARE” (Soulwax remix) by Gorillaz
48:24 — “Monster Hospital” (MSTRKRFT remix) by Metric
53:11 — “Avalon” (Jacques lu Cont Versus remix) by Juliet
59:46 — “Destroy Rock & Roll” (Riton Re-Rub) by Mylo

[save]  Download “Destroy Rock (And Roll)” (very low-quality)

If you want a CD version of the mix, let me know and I might go ahead and send you one. I will be designing a CD cover and everything (and will update this post once that has happened).